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the aptitude of that variety. Whereof, lest we should be too timorous, in the awe that our flat sages would form us and dress us, wisest Solomon among his gravest proverbs countenances a kind of ravishment and erring fondness in the entertainment of wedded leisures; and in the Song of Songs, which is generally believed, even in the jolliest expressions, to figure the spousals of the Church with Christ, sings of a thousand raptures between those two lovely ones far on the hither side of carnal enjoyment. By these instances, and more which might be brought, we may imagine how indulgently God provided against man's loneliness; that he approved it not, as by himself declared not good; that he approved the remedy thereof, as of his own ordaining, consequently good; and as he ordained it, so doubtless proportionably to our fallen estate he gives it; else were his ordinance at least in vain, and we for all his gifts still empty handed.

This I amaze me at, that though all the superior and nobler ends both of marriage and of the married persons be absolutely frustrate, the matrimony stirs not, loses no hold, remains as rooted as the centre: but if the body bring but in a complaint of frigidity, by that cold application only this adamantine Alp of wedlock has leave to dissolve; which else all the machinations of religious or civil reason at the suit of a distressed mind, either for divine worship or human conversation violated,

cannot unfasten. What courts of concupiscence are these, wherein fleshly appetite is heard before right reason, lust before love or devotion? They may be pious Christians together, they may be loving and friendly, they may be helpful to each other in the family, but they cannot couple; that shall divorce them, though either party would not. They can neither serve God together, nor one be at peace with the other, nor be good in the family one to other; but live as they were dead, or live as they were deadly enemies in a cage together: it is all one, they can couple, they shall not divorce till death, no, though this sentence be their death. What is this besides tyranny, but to turn nature upside down, to make both religion and the mind of man wait upon the slavish errands of the body, and not the body to follow either the sanctity or the sovereignty of the mind, unspeakably wronged, and with all equity complaining? what is this but to abuse the sacred and mysterious bed of marriage to be the compulsive sty of an ingrateful and malignant lust, stirred up only from a carnal acrimony, without either love or peace, or regard to any other thing holy or human? This I admire, how possibly it should inhabit thus long in the sense of so many disputing theologians, unless it be the lowest lees of a canonical infection liver-grown to their sides, which, perhaps, will never uncling, without the strong abstersive of some heroic magistrate, whose mind, equal to his high office, dares

lead him both to know and to do without their frivolous case-putting.

All arts acknowledge, that then only we know certainly, when we can define; for definition is that which refines the pure essence of things from the circumstance.

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For no other cause did Christ assure us that whatsoever things we bind or slacken on earth, are so in heaven, but to signify that the Christian arbitrement of charity is supreme decider of all controversy, and supreme resolver of all Scripture, not as the pope determines for his own tyranny, but as the Church ought to determine for its own true liberty. . . . . I omit many instances, many proofs and arguments of this kind, which alone would compile a just volume, and shall content me here to have shown briefly, that the great and almost only commandment of the Gospel is, to command nothing against the good of man, and much more no civil command against his civil good. If we understand not this, we are but cracked cymbals, we do but tinkle, we know nothing, we do nothing, all the sweat of our toilsomest obedience will but mock us. And what we suffer superstitiously returns us no thanks. .

In every commonwealth, when it decays, corruption makes two main steps: first, when men cease to do according to the inward and uncompelled actions of virtue, caring only to live by the outward constraint of law, and turn the simplicity of

real good into the craft of seeming so by law. To this hypocritical honesty was Rome declined in that age wherein Horace lived, and discovered it to Quintius.

"Whom do we count a good man, whom but he
Who keeps the laws and statutes of the Senate ?
Who judges in great suits and controversies?
Whose witness and opinion wins the cause?
But his own house, and the whole neighborhood
Sees his foul inside through his whited skin."

The next declining is, when law becomes now too strait for the secular manners, and those too loose for the cincture of law. This brings in false and crooked interpretations to eke out law, and invents the subtle encroachments of obscure traditions hard to be disproved.

If these be the limits of law to restrain sin, who so lame a sinner but may hop over them more easily than over those Romulean circumscriptions, not as Remus did, with hard success, but with all indemnity? Such a limiting as this were not worth the mischief that accompanies it. This law therefore, not bounding the supposed sin, by permitting enlarges it, gives it enfranchisement. And never greater confusion, than when law and sin move their landmarks, mix their territories, and correspond, have intercourse, and traffic together. When law contracts a kindred and hospitality with transgression, becomes the godfather of sin, and names it lawful; when sin revels and gossips within the arsenal of law, plays and dandles the artillery of

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justice that should be bent against her, this is a fair limitation indeed. Besides, it is an absurdity to say that law can measure sin, or moderate sin: sin is not in a predicament to be measured and modified, but is always an excess. The least sin that is exceeds the measure of the largest law that can be good; and is as boundless as that vacuity beyond the world. If once it square to the measure of law, it ceases to be an excess, and consequently ceases to be a sin; or else law, conforming itself to the obliquity of sin, betrays itself to be not straight, but crooked, and so immediately no law. And the improper conceit of moderating sin by law will appear, if we can imagine any lawgiver so senseless as to decree, that so far a man may steal, and thus far be drunk, that moderately he may cozen, and moderately commit adultery. To the same extent it would be as pithily absurd to publish, that a man may moderately divorce, if to do that be entirely naught. But to end this moot: the law of Moses is manifest to fix no limit therein at all, or such at least as impeaches the fraudulent abuser no more than if it were not set; only requires the dismissive writing without other caution, leaves that to the inner man, and the bar of conscience. But it stopped other sins. This is as vain as the rest, and dangerously uncertain: the contrary to be feared rather, that one sin, admitted courteously by law, opened the gate to another. However, evil must not be done for good. And it were a fall to be lamented, and indignity unspeakable, if

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